Ferran Adrià's Roasted Chicken

Francesc Guillamet

By far the most popular recipe from last week's Cook the Book column was Michael Ruhlman's Perfect Roasted Chicken. More of a technique than a recipe, really, its popularity made it clear just how important the dish is. This week we thought we'd tackle another roast chicken recipe, this time from Ferran Adrià's The Family Meal.

Adrià's latest book is inspired by the meals he and his staff shared before the shuttering of the legendary El Bulli restaurant in Spain. These family meals, eaten before the restaurant opened its doors for the evening, were meant to provide Adrià and his crew of 75 enough sustenance for the evening that was equally tasty and efficient. Happily roasted chicken satisfies both of these criteria.

Adrià's roasted chicken is a take on Catalan dish, pollo a l'ast, an herb and lemon rubbed bird, traditionally spit roasted. In this recipe he's made a poultry seasoning blend of dried thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and peppercorns, all ground together and rubbed into a chicken that's also seasoned with salt, lemon zest, and olive oil. Similar to the Ruhlman recipe, this one uses a high heat method of cooking, flipping the chicken midway through.

Once the chicken is cooked though, the skin is a crackling green-gold, full of herbs and little bits of crisp lemon zest. The juices that collected in the bottom of the pan are deglazed with white wine making a simple pan sauce to serve alongside. And like all of the recipes in The Family Meal, this one can be multiplied to easily feed a crowd with barely any more effort on the cook's part.

Adapted from The Family Meal by Ferran Adrià. Copyright © 2011. Published by Phiadon. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

Recipe Details

Ferran Adrià's Roasted Chicken

Active 15 mins
Total 60 mins
Serves 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 whole chickens, 4 1/2 pounds each

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 lemons

  • 20 dried bay leaves

  • 3 3/4 teaspoons dried rosemary

  • 1/3 cup dried thyme

  • 2/3 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 4 tablespoons white wine

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Use a pair of strong kitchen scissors to snip off the tips of the wings. Cut off the parson's nose (tail) of the chicken.

  2. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, season inside and out with salt, then rub with oil. Finely grate the lemon zest over the breast and legs.

  3. Cut the lemon into pieces and place inside of the chicken.

  4. Put the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns into a small food processor or blender and process to a fine powder.

  5. Rub the herb mixture over the chicken and push the unpeeled garlic cloves inside the chicken.

  6. Roast the chicken, breast facing down, for 25 minutes.

  7. Turn the chicken over and roast it for another 35 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

  8. Remove the chicken and set aside to rest in a warm place. Place the roasting pan over medium-high heat on the stove top.

  9. Pour in the wine and water, and loosen any sediment with a wooden spoon. Boil the cooking juices, bubbling them down to make a tasty gravy.

  10. Carve the chicken into pieces and place on a serving dish.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
861 Calories
63g Fat
3g Carbs
66g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 861
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 81%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 329mg 110%
Sodium 663mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 66g
Vitamin C 13mg 64%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 790mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)